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Parenting The Adolescent

Adolescents need to be heard and truly seen. They must be heard if we are to protect them and have a positive impact on their future.    Not only do they need to be heard but we need to work hard to foster a relationship with them that facilitates their sharing.  How do we do this?  First, let’s start with challenging the scripts that we heard as children that contribute to how we parent.  These scripts show up as anger when our adolescents respond to a request with “no” or when they disagree with our perspective.  The thought that adolescents should always be obedient, causes us to have a negative reaction when they do.  Look at it this way.  Adolescents need to become comfortable with rejecting things that they are uncomfortable with. Think widely here for a moment about their experiences of unwanted attention, peer pressure, and drug and alcohol use. Allowing them to become comfortable with addressing dissatisfaction is a necessary skill to assist them with being assertive and them being able to reject behaviours from others that can have negative consequences.  So the next time your adolescent rejects an idea or says “no” to a request,  think of them strengthening their skills to refuse an advance from an unwanted pursuit or stand up to a bully at school or not partake in being trolled online and then pat yourself on the back for loving providing the space for their growth and development.


Contributed by Jennifer Stuart-Dixon PhD

Clinical Psychologist

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